Friday, May 30, 2008

This is from May 3rd - 5th

Hiromi and I went to a small island close to where I live called Iki. We took a ferry. Or as they call it in Japan herry. (they don`t pronounce the `f` properly)

It`s kind of open seating. Everybody just takes off their shoes and sits on the floor. Pretty customary here in Japan.

This here rock is suppose to look like a monkey. The Japanese call it monkey rock or saru-iwa in japanese.

And this is that same monkey rock taken from the bottom of the cliff. Doesn`t look too much like a monkey anymore.

After the monkey rock, Hiromi and I took a romatic Kayak ride out to this little island with a lighthouse. Only it wasn`t so romantic because I seemed to think it was a race even though there was noone else in the water. Hiromi wasn`t impressed

This is a picture of a pretty flower

And this is a picture of an idiot taking a picture of a pretty flower

I actually got to touch this dolphin. Admission to this park was a whopping $2, and I get to touch a dolphin. Unreal.

And of course I had to include the picture of the vending machines without a building in site in both directions. Only in Japan!

Rice fields. The island is covered with them. Literraly, even a space as narrow as a walking path might be used as rice field. Good old Japanese efficiency

`And this is Iki taken from the island`s highest point an astounding 353 meters.

Well that`s Iki. Overall not too much to do on the small Island. But certainly well worth the trip. I`d definitely go again if a was inclined to surf or spend some days relaxing on the beach. Actually with the added Dolphin attraction, I`d say its an excellent place to go and relax.


Anonymous Anonymous said...


What's the official scoop on this alleged suicide epidemic in Japan?


9:21 PM  
Blogger robbo said...

I don`t know really. I did a little internet searching and it seems as though the bulk of the problem is coming from a rise in the suicide rates among dudes.

I don`t really have much insight for ya. But I work at 4 elementary schools with about 100 coworkers. And nearly half of them are dudes believe it or not. Actually I saw a picture at an elementary school that dated back to the late 1800`s and still half the people in the picture were dudes. In Japan, it`s always been a man`s profession. Just different culture.

Out of the some 40 middle aged dudes that I work with, most seem to be very happy.

But all those guys have jobs that come with a pretty much lifetime guarantee. Interestingly despite said guarantee, they all put a lot of pride and hard work into their job.

The internet seems to think the real problem was caused by the economic recession. I guess a lot of people lost there jobs in the late 90`s - and as far as I can tell they are never gonna get them back. In this aspect I might be able to shed the smallest bit of insight.

The Japanese corporate system and even Japanese culture - although capatilastic - it hardly resembles America and almost seems to be more socialistic. Corporations expect their employees to sign up for life, and salaries are rarely decided based on merit and almost always decided based on age. Right after college Japanese men start working at a corporation and they usually continue all the way to 60 - the required retirement age.

After college I suppose they are thrown into the company, and I imagine throughout their career they pretty much have their own decision as to how much actual responsibility they take on. And unlike America, in Japan, no matter how much responsibility a person takes on, they will sure as hell make it look like they take on a shit-load of responsibility.

I`ve heard many rumors that most Japanese do nothing all day, and then at 5:00 they start to frantically try to finish they`re job. This way they look good and busy until 8 p.m. And actually I`ve personally confirmed this. A friend of mine works for the government, and at the end of the fiscal year, they have absolutely no money and no projects. Yet he told me that everyday he stays at least an hour late just because his boss wouldn`t be too happy if he actually left on time. At the Elementary schools I work at, they have a principal and 2 assistant principals. These 3 men manage 12 teachers and about 350 students. The students leave at 3:30. The teachers are not allowed to leave until 5:15, but very few people actually leave at that time. MOST leave 30min to an hour late. I understand that it isn`t an easy job, but if you have a few years experience, and the students are gone, there is absolutely no reason to sit around every day and do nothing.

So to get to the point, I imagine many japanese men sat around in their offices doing nothing while pretending to do something. During the economic boom in the 50-90s, this was no problem at all. These people were what is japanese call a Kaishanohito or Company`s person. Some people do less, some people do more. It doesn`t effect your salary, and what is most important is the functioning of the group as a whole.

Well after the collapse of the Bubble Economy, suddenly these corporations are forced to suss out which of their employees actually are doing nothing. And I`m sure it was a hefty number of them just as it is in American corporations.

So these guys are kicked out middle-aged, no skills, no connections. Then they`re only real option is entering the Japanese Social Welfare system. The fundamental principals of the system are to give the person enough money to live and to retrain them for the work force. First off how is a middle-aged japanese man gonna compete with a young college kid who has 30+ employable years ahead of them. Second off, I think they try to train these guys to work in high paying high demand positions. I met one man on the bus who was studying computer animation. Just not the type of job you can exactly train a person to do.

So, In the long winded reply, although I`m certainly no expert, I imagine the epidemic is caused by useless middle-aged men who rode the economic boom and now have very limited options.

3:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had a great fun in Iki!!
except for the canoe....that should have been the most romantic time,Rob!

2:32 AM  

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